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Our favorite movies of 2013


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Apart from Jeffrey's and Darren's lists (Edit: and Nick's list!) on Letterboxd, is the current absence of To the Wonder because it's being considered a 2012 film, or because it simply isn't in anyone's favorites of this past year? I saw the movie this year, though it played at TIFF last year. It's currently hovering at #7 on my list, but I have a number of potentially great movies to see before the year is out.

Edited by Joel Mayward
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Although I scoff at people who hold off on these lists until they see 8 or 9 more movies -- we can't be exhaustive every year, so let's get on with it! -- I'm holding off posting my own list this year because a couple of very high-profile December releases, American Hustle (opening today) and The Wolf of Wall Street, still need to be seen by me. I figure that'll happen before year-end -- I won't be waiting until video, or until sometime in 2018 to see them -- so I'm holding off for now.

 

I also thought I would have seen The Way, Way Back by now, but noooooo.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Apart from Jeffrey's and Darren's lists (Edit: and Nick's list!) on Letterboxd, is the current absence of To the Wonder because it's being considered a 2012 film, or because it simply isn't in anyone's favorites of this past year? I saw the movie this year, though it played at TIFF last year. It's currently hovering at #7 on my list, but I have a number of potentially great movies to see before the year is out.

Yes.  The same goes for Frances Ha, Much Ado About Nothing, Museum Hours and Mud according to imdb.

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There are different ways to configure eligibility. Many A&F users go by the NYC Commerical Releases rule, for which Mike D'Angelo provides a very nice list. By that rule Frances Ha, Much Ado About Nothing, Mud, Museum Hours, and To the Wonder all qualify as 2013 releases.

(To the Wonder does not appear on my top ten because I'm not that fond of it.)

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To the Wonder is currently #12 on my 2013 list.  So, while I liked it a lot, there will be at least 11 films from this year which I liked more.

 

Although I scoff at people who hold off on these lists until they see 8 or 9 more movies -- we can't be exhaustive every year, so let's get on with it!

I don't try to be exhaustive, but I'm willing to wait until a week or two into January if that means being able to see something that stands a good chance of making my top ten.

 

I'm not sure if I'll be able to see The Past until June, so I probably will finalize my list without having seen that.

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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  • 2 weeks later...

There are a heap of movies I still need to see that could be contenders, so these lists are in serious flux, and I'm likely to come back and edit this post regularly. Also, it is again quite likely that many of you will be perplexed with my list, as I am going by Australian Release Dates, so many of the titles I list are going to be films the majority of you probably saw in 2012!!!

Top 5 favourites (in order of preference):

1. Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

2. Zero Dark Thirty

3. Captain Phillips

4. Anna Karenina

5. Fruitvale Station

 
Runners-up (alphabetical order):
 

1. Barbara

2. Gravity
3. Lincoln
4. To the Wonder
5. The Way Way Back

 

Honourable mentions (alphabetical order):

1. The Bling Ring

2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
3. The Imposter
4. Much Ado About Nothing
5. Rust & Bone
6. Upstream Color

 

Edited by Benchwarmer
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Would anyone make a case for me seeing Saving Mr. Banks, August: Osage County, and/or Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom before I finalize my list?

 

Banks is the kind of movie critics like to rip on but which has some good things to recommend it. If you strive to be (or just are) somewhat populist in your list, it might be worth seeing. But Mandela was a major disappointment (for me), the script was just weak.

Edited by kenmorefield
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My top ten favorites from 2013, from what I saw in 2013. I've only seen 42 films released in 2013, so I imagine the list will change over time.

 

1. Short Term 12

2. Before Midnight

3. Upstream Color

4. Gravity

5. This Is Martin Bonner

6. 12 Years a Slave

7. Frances Ha

8. Mud

9. To the Wonder

10. The Way, Way Back

 

Here's the official post, including my top 20.

 

A generous "thank you" to this community for introducing me to This Is Martin Bonner.

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My brothers and I will be putting out our favourite films lists this upcoming week at our website, Three Brothers Film. Aren goes Mon., I'm on Tues., and Anton Wed. Then we'll post our favourite scenes and performances of the year. There will be things I haven't seen before then (INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, HER), but I want to share earlier rather than later this year.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

Twitter.
Letterboxd.

Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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Mud

The World's End

All Is Lost

Nebraska

The Way, Way Back

The Place Beyond the Pines

12 Years a Slave

Pacific Rim

Inside Llewyn Davis

Gravity

 

Honorable mentions: Captain Phillips, The Conjuring, Stoker, Prince Avalanche, Computer Chess, Trance, American Hustle, Star Trek Into Darkness, John Dies at the End

 

Movie I forgot existed before I sat down to make this list: Oz: The Great and Powerful

 

Still looking forward to: Her, The Wolf of Wall Street

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1. Short Term 12

 

Even though I don't (entirely) share your love for this film, I am happy to see it acknowledged.

 

I really wanted to like it a lot more than I ultimately did. It had a real authentic and honest feel to it for the most part, but unfortunately, the final act rang false to me, and I felt as though things were wrapped up much too tidily and neatly in the end. My appreciation for the film wasn't diminished entirely, and there was still much I appreciated about the film, but if the third act was as strong as the first two, it might well have been my number one film also!!!

Edited by Benchwarmer
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1. Short Term 12

 

Even though I don't (entirely) share your love for this film, I am happy to see it acknowledged.

 

I really wanted to like it a lot more than I ultimately did. It had a real authentic and honest feel to it for the most part, but unfortunately, the final act rang false to me, and I felt as though things were wrapped up much too tidily and neatly in the end. My appreciation for the film wasn't diminished entirely, and there was still much I appreciated about the film, but if the third act was as strong as the first two, it might well have been my number one film also!!!

 

I felt the same way about this film, but am not sure why the third act suffers. The decisions made by key characters are things I approve, and that I find extremely refreshing in such a gritty drama as this one. But there's a sense of air going out of the balloon. I liked the film both times I watched it, yet each time I found myself saying, "What happened?" when the film ended. It's not a fatal question -- the film comes down off a very high plane -- but it definitely loses something, and I'm still not sure what, exactly, is the culprit.

Guys, I've drafted an extremely rough version of my Top 20. Once I've got it to a place where I can tolerate it (my top 20 of 2012 roundup still makes me wince when I read it, not because of my selections but because of my prose), I'll load it and will post a link here.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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For me the key third-act problem is the way the protagonist breaks certain rules (indeed, laws) and gets away with it. Felt very movie-wish-fulfillment-ish, and not at all in keeping with the more realistic vibe of the first two acts.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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For me the key third-act problem is the way the protagonist breaks certain rules (indeed, laws) and gets away with it. Felt very movie-wish-fulfillment-ish, and not at all in keeping with the more realistic vibe of the first two acts.

Hmmm. Now that I've written that I approve of certain decisions the characters make in third act, I'm wondering if I've endorsed lawlessness! (We must not be thinking of the same things.)

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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For me the key third-act problem is the way the protagonist breaks certain rules (indeed, laws) and gets away with it. Felt very movie-wish-fulfillment-ish, and not at all in keeping with the more realistic vibe of the first two acts.

If you're talking about the scene

when Grace breaks into the home of Jayden's father, then smashes up his car with a baseball bat

, I'm not sure I agree with these actions being unrealistic. I could really see Grace doing those things, and as there were no witnesses apart from Jayden, Grace had no accountability for her actions unless Jayden chose to turn her in to authorities. At least, I didn't find the scenario to be straying into unrealistic territory.

 

FWIW, I loved whole the film, third act included, but I also may have a personal bias, as my vocation is working with teenagers and I strongly identified with the character of Grace.

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Well, that, and the way she flips off her boss etc. It's almost like the movie takes a sharp turn towards Melodrama and Scenes Where Actors Can Really Cut Loose, which felt tonally "off" from the rest of the film, at least to me.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Nice list, Darrel.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Tops of 2013 (alphabetical)

 

2013topten_zpsc05c8d9a.jpg

 

 

Honorable Mention

 

Captain Phillips

The Great Gatsby

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

This is the End

The Wolf of Wall Street

 

Best Films I Hadn't Seen Until 2013

 

Army of Shadows (1969)

The Late Show (1977)

Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

Max and the Junkmen (1971)

Night Moves (1975)

Un Flic (1972)

 

Money Wasted

 

The Lone Ranger

A Good Day to Die Hard

Edited by John Drew

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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I'm behind on seeing the most recent films, but here's my first attempt at a top 10 list for this year:

 

1. The World’s End

2. Gravity

3. Upstream Color

4. In a World

5. Before Midnight

6. Fruitvale Station

7. This is Martin Bonner

8. From Up on Poppy Hill

9. Computer Chess

10. The Broken Circle Breakdown

Edited by Crow
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